Diluted Thinking
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Homeoprophylaxis - Queensland

The topic of homeoprophylaxis (homeopathic vaccination) hit the headlines this week when the Queensland Department of Health publicised a case where a parent had been misled by a homeopath into believing her child was protected from vaccine preventable diseases by homeoprophylaxis.

The Department of Health issued the following media statement, dated 2 August 2013:

Chief Health Officer warns parents to beware of 'fake' immunisations

Queensland parents are being warned of the risks surrounding so-called homeopathic vaccinations.

The State's Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, said she was issuing the warning after becoming aware of a child whose parents reported she had been protected by "homeopathic" immunisation.

Dr Young said in scientific terms the notion of homeopathic vaccinations was nonsense.

"The Department of Health becomes aware of this as an issue from time to time," she said.

"It is really frustrating to see cases where parents think they are doing the right thing by their child and, in fact, they're not protecting them at all.

"We've recently been told by a doctor of a parent who reported their child had received homeopathic vaccinations from a homeopath, believing this was an acceptable alternative to mainstream immunisation.

"This is totally wrong and the whole science behind homeoprophylaxis, or homeopathic immunisation, is incorrect.

"Anyone offering remedies in place of standard vaccinations is dangerously misleading parents into believing their child is protected against serious diseases.

"Homeopathic vaccinations are no substitutes for standard vaccination.

"Such so-called vaccinations are a serious breach of trust and should not be tolerated from a health care provider."

Dr Young said immunisation was considered one of the most important achievements of modern medicine and had saved millions of lives worldwide.

"Immunisation underpins a healthy community and is a core responsibility of the healthcare sector," she said.

"The immunisation program remains extremely important and highly effective at preventing serious and life-threatening infectious diseases.

"Thanks to the immunisation program, diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, measles, influenza Type B, meningococcal C, and polio do not occur or occur rarely in Queensland.

"Always talk to your GP or immunisation providere if you have any concerns as there is a lot of information readily available for parents on the importance and value of immunisation."

Source: 2 August 2013 Media Release (PDF)

Many Queensland news outlets ran the story, including this story from Caboolture News Parents not protecting kids with homeopathic vaccinations

The ABC 7.30 Report ran an interview with Dr Jeanette Young on 2 August 2013: Homeopathic vaccine claims targetted by Queensland Health .
In this interview, Dr Young states that the issue of homeopathic vaccination is very serious and that Qld Health is looking into ways of stopping it, including reporting the homeopath concerned in this instance to the HQCC, notifying the TGA, and investigating whether Queensland's Fair Trading has a role. Dr Young further advised she wants to see action taken against the homeopath to avoid this happening to other children.

At the end of the interview we were told that the Australian Homoeopathic Association (AHA) advised 7.30 Report that it does not recommend homeopathic prophylaxis as an alternative to medical immunisation and patients are required to sign a consent form stating they're aware that it's completely different. What a mealy-mouthed response; if homeopaths were being honest with their patients that homeoprophylaxis does not protect against infectious disease, then their patients would not be buying this service.

The AHA still fully supports the practice of homeopathic prophylaxis. Many of its members publicly state their opposition to vaccination or support antivaccination groups and the AHA Western Australia branch has been a professional member of the notorious Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network for at least the past four years. The TGA has upheld complaints against AHA members regarding homeoprophylaxis (refer Homeoprophylaxis post) but this has had no effect on the AHA's stance on homeoprophylaxis or the number of its members who offer homeoprophylaxis services.

I look forward to seeing what steps Queensland Health take in trying to stop the scam of homeopathic vaccination. Their next hurdle will be overcoming the fear and doubt about vaccination that the majority of homeopaths instil into their patients.

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